Income-related health inequality in urban China (1991-2015)

Working Paper 2020-524


We analyze 1991-2015 data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey to ask how housing affects income-related health inequalities in urban China. We use the Erreygers Index (EI) to measure the health gradient, and apply a re-centered influence function (RIF) decomposition to estimate its determinants. We find pro-rich inequalities in self- reported health between 2000 and 2015 but pro-poor inequalities in objective health between 1991 and 2015. Housing conditions serve to reduce the health gradient, and especially that for objective health. Homeownership, however, exacerbates the health gradient. Improving housing conditions thus appears to be an effective way of reducing the income-health gradient in urban China.

Authors: Peng Nie, Andrew E. Clarck, Conchita D’Ambrosio, Lanlin Ding.

Keywords: Income-related health inequality; housing conditions; homeownership; decomposition; urban China.
JEL: D63; I10; I12; R21.